On Sunday we continue our series in Galatians titled, The Free Life. This Sunday’s passage contains one of the most counter-cultural verses in the Scriptures. Paul writes,
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.Galatians 3:27-29
It is such a beautiful reality. Our relationship with God is not contingent upon our race or socio-economic status or sex, for we are all one in Christ Jesus. And because that is our reality with God, it is the reality with God’s people…at least it should be. These past weeks have reminded us of how far we have yet to see it realized. It is in fact the same kind of world to which Paul was writing.
In Galatia, Antioch, and Jerusalem, life was full of much the same. Political unrest, mobs, corruption, injustice, brutality, crime, famine, and disease. How any Christian in any time responds to those realities is one of the most significant things a Christian does each day. How we step forward in faith is the ongoing, burning question of each of our Christian lives. The Galatians found themselves tested and tempted by the law-reliers (the Judaizers) who offered security through a way of life that would in effect bypass the dynamic life of faith for the static status of self-reliance.
Paul tells the Galatians that a Christian steps into and lives out the New Life not by taking something off (i.e. circumcision) but by putting Christ on. And putting Christ on means not merely exchanging my dirty garments for his clean ones, but it means taking up his cross to suffer with him, showing forth his love to our neighbors, living in meekness and humility as he did. It means embodying hope as we take up and put on his resurrection which is a promise fulfilled but one that is still being realized. Yes, it is being realized, but it is in this way: in our clay vessels is deposited a treasure that far outweighs our light and momentary trials. We are being renewed by his Spirit which dwells within us day by day.
Even so, as much as we put on Christ and rejoice in Him who has given us the victory, we continue to thirst for him. Rather than being a deficiency in the gospel or in the salvation Jesus has secured, our thirst is current situation in which we find ourselves. This is the ongoing cry of God’s children, “We are thirsty, Lord. Give us the living water.” Thankfully, the Lord is eager to give us that water.
The danger for Christians are not the wars, famines, pestilence, or even death. The danger is that we quit asking. It’s just too much to cry out for more. It’s too much to wait on him. It’s too much to endure the suffering without knowing the immediate conclusion. We look for anything to give us leverage against the unknown. We double down on rules, mandates, schedules, and lists. These things will save us or at least give us a sense of accomplishment as we endure waiting the trouble out.
Volitionality is important. It is an important marker of having a personal sense of freedom, but it is not freedom itself. In the unrest and uncertainty of this past week and last months, along with all that needs doing (and there is much), we need to pray out our need and disappointment, anger, sadness, and thirst. The prayer of Lament is a helpful place to start. And as you pray, ask the Lord for the Water of Life which restores the land and satisfies the people.
Should you like some direction on praying out the cry of thirstiness, here are a couple of Psalms to consider reading and praying through: Psalm 3, 22, 62, 64, 69, 70, and 77.